WoF’s the matter?


It comes around all too regularly these days, especially with vehicles registered before 1 January 2000. I am referring to the Warrant of Fitness and the road worthiness of our vehicles. Of my fleet, several are older than 2000 and therefore require 6-monthly checks, but I have modernised a little bit over the last couple of years with a couple of Discovery 3s and a Range Rover Sport that only require 12-monthly checks.

Recently I got caught out with the ‘full sized’ Range Rover having a meltdown and all other vehicles needing their WoF checks, and because most garages around here are usually fully booked a week or so in advance, I took the Discovery 3 to the local VTNZ station. The testing station has been here for more than 45 years, although it was operated by the local council back in those days.

This testing station and I have some history together, but that was before the existence of VTNZ. As a teenager back in the 1970s, I took my 1.3-litre Triumph Herald in for a WoF and when putting the vehicle through the brake machine, the tester having done the front brakes spun the rear wheels to drive forward and promptly broke a rear axle. No apology, no WoF or anything, they just pushed the car out the door and left me to deal with getting it recovered and home.

It has different operators and staff today of course.

I headed into the testing station on a Friday afternoon to get a WoF – and of course does any vehicle get through these days without something to be replaced? I never seem to, but at least it was a relatively short list; wiper blades, windscreen washer, right rear tyre and front brakes uneven by 21 per cent. The allowable difference is 20 per cent.

Wiper blades were easy enough, once I worked out how to remove the cheapy blades that were currently fitted and were falling apart. I’m not sure why I really need wiper blades or even windscreen washers as it definitely doesn’t rain here. I’m sure I am living in a desert given that it was mid-March that we had anything that could be regarded as rain and early December before that.

The washer jets took a bit longer, first removing a few plastic studs holding the bonnet ling in place on driver’s side until I could access the washer jet. The jet was one which has some sort of heater as it has wires going into it so unplugged and removed the hose. I did check that the hose was clear and the problem was in the jet.

I used a small needle in the jet and soaked the jet in warm soapy water overnight. Poked around with needle yet again and then turned compressor on and blew air back through the twin jets and sure enough a small hunk of gunk came out. Back on the vehicle and it was working perfectly, but I noticed the left was only squirting from one of the twin jets, so it too was removed and given the same cleaning process.

For the front brake pads, I had new ones available, so headed around to Geoff’s workshop to use the hoist to change them. Up on the hoist, the old pads removed and they still had good life left in all of them. A roughen up and refit might have had them more even but as I had the new pads we put those in. Geoff has a neat trick when fitting new brake pads like the Discovery ones. Rather than remove the caliper completely, he unbolts the bottom bolt and pulls the caliper up to release the pads. He then bleeds off the caliper as he pushes the pistons back rather than risk overflowin­g the master cylinder, fits the new pads and lowers the caliper again. The pads came with new bolts so the bottom bolt was replaced on both sides.

The sensor cable indicating low brake pads on the front had been cut previously and the end sealed with heat shrink. Because we touched it, I now get the occasional warning on the dash to check brake pads. Maybe I should have replaced the sensor as well.

Lastly the tyre. Geoff couldn’t see quickly why it failed and questioned if it might be the left rear as it had a small cut in it. Anyway, he had a pair of good tyres that came on some rims he purchased and offered them to me if I got his tyres swapped onto the rims. Deal done, so off to the tyre shop and even they questioned why had the rear tyres failed as they too couldn’t see any fault at a quick glance.

Tyres changed it was back to the testing station for the recheck and all-important pass, new WoF and no broken axles. Legal again for another 12 months, now onto the next vehicle.

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